Former Leicester star Riyad Mahrez has paid tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, describing the Foxes’ former chairman as a father figure to him.
The winger pointed to the sky after he scored the only goal in City’s 1-0 win over Tottenham on Monday night, his goal coming just 24 hours after Leicester confirmed Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people to die when the helicopter they were in crashed at Leicester City’s stadium on Saturday night.
The Thai billionaire, 60, was set to fly back to London after Leicester’s 1-1 draw with West Ham – a mode of transport the Thai owner had regularly used.
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But witnesses said the helicopter seemed to spiral out of control moments after it set off from Leicester’s King Power Stadium at about 8.30pm on Saturday and plummeted into the car park.
Mahrez played 179 matches and scored 48 goals for Leicester and was a key component in their famous title win in 2016, before he joined Manchester City in a £60m deal this summer.
And Mahrez he told Sky Sports after the match that he has found it difficult to sleep in the last two days after the death of a man he grew to know well during his time at the club.
“To be honest it’s been very, very difficult for me,” he said after the match. “It’s not easy to have this type of stuff.
“The boss was very special to me, I spent four and a half years there and have many memories with him. He was such a good person and I’m very, very sad, it’s why when I scored I put my hands to the sky for him. He did a lot for me and for Leicester and it’s difficult to speak about it.
“He was like a dad for us, very, very special, believe me he was such a good person with a big heart. It was heartbreaking and shocking to hear this news. I’m with Leicester and the families of the victims as it was a shocking situation.
“I always wanted to play tonight, I know he would have wanted me to, he was very passionate about football. It was difficult, difficult to sleep after that, but it’s part of life.”